Pope Condemns Gay Marriage, Warns on Biotech Before U.K. Trip

Pope Benedict XVI reiterated his opposition to gay marriage and warned that biotechnologies may lead to a new “eugenics” where society’s most vulnerable are deemed unworthy to live.

Benedict, speaking before paying a historic visit to the U.K. later this week, said the Roman Catholic Church “cannot approve of legal initiatives that imply a re-evaluation of the life of the couple and the family.”

The pope, in a reference to legalized marriage among homosexuals, said such laws “contribute to the weakening of the principles of natural law” and to “confusion about society’s values.” He made his remarks today while receiving Germany’s new envoy to the Holy See at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo south of Rome, according to a transcript posted on the Vatican’s website.

Benedict will travel to Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Birmingham on Sept. 16-19, the first state visit by a pope to the U.K. since the Reformation in the 16th century. Last week, he said he “can’t wait” for the visit while thanking Queen Elizabeth for inviting him to Britain, to which his predecessor John Paul II traveled on a non-state trip in 1982.

The pope today called for “vigilance” on biotechnologies, because “when one begins to differentiate between a worthy and an unworthy life, no phase of life will be spared, particularly old age and sickness.” He said this may lead to a new eugenics, a belief associated with Nazi Germany that the human species can be improved by limiting reproduction by people with genetic defects or traits considered undesirable.

Benedict, a native of Germany, also recalled “the dark period of Nazi terror” in his remarks to Ambassador Walter Juergen Schmid. The pope arrives in the U.K. on the day after Battle of Britain Day, which commemorates when German aircraft bombed London.

Given the timing of his visit, the pope is likely to make a reference to the Nazi attack during his trip Father Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, told reporters in Rome on Sept. 10.

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